Over the past few years, Pioneer DJ’s CDJ has slowly descended from being an innovative, powerful tool to an outdated piece of gear. CDJs continue to get heavy use in club settings, but we suspect that the lack of a new flagship player model since 2016’s CDJ-2000NXS2 could soon have an impact on the company’s dominance in DJ booths. So instead, let’s imagine the future, yet-to-be announced media player from Pioneer DJ.
This article is the first in a series imagining Future DJ Gear concepts – enjoy! Please note that these concepts are speculative, and do not reflect any actual knowledge of what these companies are up to.
Why Pioneer DJ Needs A New Player
Brands like Denon DJ have been recently pushing more innovative/industry-first features than Pioneer DJ. Their use of modern, gesture-based touch screens, performance pads, WiFi compatibility, and other fresh features makes it feel like left Pioneer is a bit behind the cutting edge technology curve. Obviously Pioneer DJ is continuing to work on their next products – but four years have passed since the release of the Prime SC5000, with out so much as a teaser about new media player from Japan.
What We Want To See In A CDJ-3000NXS
There are several things that an ideal new CDJ should have to be put on par with the SC6000. Let’s take a look at my concept design of a hypothetical CDJ-3000 NXS player, and dive into a few specific new features we hope to see.
This is the most glaringly-obvious feature that the competition offers and the CDJ doesn’t. The inclusion of eight proper performance pads capable of managing cue points, beat loops, and other potential performance features like roll and slicer would be a fantastic (and long overdue) inclusion.
This feature isn’t so much a requirement to compete with the likes Denon as it is just common sense. The “DJ controller revolution” introduced multi-function pads – ironically an idea that Pioneer DJ championed when the DDJ-SX was released almost ten years ago.
10” Multi-Touch Hi-Res Display
This feature would be a much-needed upgrade to the CDJ-2000NXS2. The touch screen on the NXS2s feel like they’re pre-iPhone – they can’t detect gestures such as swiping or pinching. A CDJ’s touch controls can feel almost counterintuitive in an era where much of society owns a smartphone.
This is another area where Denon has Pioneer beat at the moment. Their SC6000 offers a 13-inch multitouch screen that feels like using an iPad, offering the gesture-based zooming and scrolling people have come to expect from a screen. The entire top section of the player would likely be at a slightly higher angle than that of the 2000 NXS2 to accommodate for the larger screen size.
Improved Jog Display
This one is a no-brainer, as this tech already exists in Pioneer DJ equipment. The DDJ-1000 controller has hi-res jog wheel displays that show BPM, waveform, key, album art, and needle data.
Given that the jog wheels on the DDJ-1000 are otherwise identical to those on the NXS2, it would be common sense for the screen to be included in a new player model. This would be a fantastic way to view track data while adjusting settings or browsing with the primary screen.
The introduction of a dual-layer system for the CDJ-3000 would allow a single player to control two tracks at once by toggling between them, which is a common system used for controllers with two deck sections. The two-layer system would be a fantastic way for DJs to mix in a third or fourth track occasionally without having to have four full-fledged players, a luxury commonly reserved for larger clubs and venues.
The challenge here is, of course, financial. Pioneer DJ could easily put this feature into media players – but how do they justify selling two fewer media players to their new owners?
Would It Even Be Called A NXS/Nexus?
One final bit of speculation here before we end this piece: there’s a little question we have about the naming of the new player. The CDJ-2000NXS was released as a followup to the CDJ-2000, and at the the time it was to indicate the ability of the player to connect to a ton of different sources – Rekordbox, iOS Rekordbox, USBs, Traktor via HID, and more. That’s exactly what a nexus is – “a connection or series of connections linking two or more things.”
These days, those connections should be standard on any flagship media player that is released. Would Pioneer DJ really need to put NXS in the product name? You’ll notice we’ve used both names in this article, intentionally, because we’re not sure. Something about CDJ-3000 by itself seems almost archaic without those three letters after it.
What are your thoughts on Pioneer DJs future flagship products, and the potentials of the hypothetical CDJ-3000? Let us know what you’d like to see next in the comment section below.